In a determined effort to combat tuberculosis, the Planning Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, M A Mannan, MP, rallied support for a united pledge to eliminate this curable and preventable disease. The call for action took center stage in a high-profile discussion organised by Nari Maitree, a leading non-governmental organisation dedicated to women’s welfare and public health. 

While addressing the audience, the chief guest stressed the critical importance of joint efforts in the fight against tuberculosis, placing it alongside AIDS and malaria as a disease that demands unwavering commitment, determination, and solidarity from all sectors of society. “Let’s all pledge to eradicate tuberculosis,” he urged, highlighting the urgency of the situation.

Bangladesh, holding a significant position among the eight countries responsible for two-thirds of global tuberculosis cases, faces both progress and challenges. The success rate of tuberculosis treatment in the country stands impressively at 97 percent. However, despite improved and free treatment availability, a substantial number of patients remain undiagnosed due to a lack of public awareness and social prejudice, with the current count of undiagnosed patients alarming at 1,29,919.

The Planning Minister emphasised the need for urgent measures, including strengthening advocacy, enhancing public awareness, collaborating with private institutions and stakeholders, securing increased funding, accurately identifying children with tuberculosis, and prioritising treatment. The government is actively formulating a five-year (2021-2025) national action plan for tuberculosis prevention.

Minister Mannan underscored the government’s dedication to eradicating tuberculosis, aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Despite significant progress over the past decade, he stressed the importance of dispelling societal superstitions that deter people from seeking treatment due to fear of isolation.

Acknowledging the crucial role of parliamentarians, the Planning Minister called upon them to actively engage with their respective districts and disseminate information about free tuberculosis treatment and diagnosis among a wider segment of the population.

The event, organised by Nari Maitree, brought together notable speakers, including Members of Parliament Aroma Dutta and Sharifa Quader, as well as Dr. Afzalur Rahman, Deputy Director of MBDC and Program Manager for Tuberculosis at the DGHS. The gathering, presided over by Nari Maitree’s Executive Director Shaheen Akter Dolly, emphasised the collaboration of various organisations engaged in tuberculosis control programs.

As the event concluded, Masuda Begum and Tauhida Sultana of Nari Maitree presented a comprehensive overview of tuberculosis, underlining its status as one of the top 10 leading causes of death worldwide and a significant public health challenge in Bangladesh. Executive Director Shaheen Akter Dolly expressed commitment to eradicating tuberculosis in Bangladesh by 2030, relying on collective efforts and government support to achieve this ambitious goal. 

Reference: “Let’s all pledge to eradicate tuberculosis”: Planning Minister [Internet]. The Business Standard. 2023 [cited 2023 Dec 12]. Available from: https://www.tbsnews.net/bangladesh/lets-all-pledge-eradicate-tuberculosis-planning-minister-717158

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